HC Deb 03 February 1944 vol 396 c1389
26. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Minister of Health whether he has information respecting overcrowding in hospitals in the London and Greater London area; whether he is regularly supplied with reports respecting this and the increased burdens to which the staff are subjected; and whether he is taking any action to secure relief in those hospitals that are now seriously understaffed.

Mr. Willink

I am advised that there is no appreciable overcrowding in general hospitals in the area mentioned. When necessary, arrangements are made under the Emergency Hospital Scheme to transfer patients to outer hospitals for treatment. I regret that owing to conditions arising out of the War, unavoidable overcrowding exists in a number of hospitals used for the treatment of the chronic sick and for mental cases. The answer to the second part of the Question is "Yes, Sir." As regards the last part, steps are being taken by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service to assist hospitals with staffing difficulties. If my hon. Friend will give me particulars of any individual hospitals he may have in mind, I shall be pleased to have inquiry made.

Mr. Sorensen

While I assure the right hon. and learned Gentleman that I shall do so may I ask him if he is aware that the nursing staffs in some hospitals are suffering from very severe strain and that if he does not supplement them by other nurses, many will break down under the strain?

Mr. Willink

We are all aware of the very great strain to which my hon. Friend refers.

Dr. Edith Summerskill

Has the attention of the right hon. and learned Gentleman been drawn to the shortage of maternity accommodation in almost every hospital in the country?